Saturday, January 30, 2016

Return Of Punk Magazine — Rises From The Dead


In 1975, John Holmstrom and Eddie “Legs” McNeil stumbled into CBGB — the legendary and now-defunct punk club on the Bowery in Manhattan — to see the Ramones play eighteen minutes of blaring rock 'n' roll. As later recounted in McNeil’s 1996 bestseller, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, and Tommy stomped into the dark, dingy room clad in black leather jackets and jeans, looking pissed-off and dangerous. Only a couple of notes into their first song, the Ramones started fighting with one another almost immediately, throwing their instruments to the ground and storming offstage. After taking a few minutes to cool off, the band plugged back in to finish up their set as Lou Reed laughed at the spectacle from his table.

The events of that night would serve as the foundation for the inaugural issue of Punk, the seminal counterculture magazine Holmstrom and McNeil founded with publisher Ged Dunn in January of 1976. Throughout much of the late Seventies, the publication helped mold and popularize the genre of punk rock in the U.S., providing a platform for interviews, essays, and cartoons centered around bands like the New York Dolls, the Sex Pistols, the Dictators, and the Stooges. This month marks the fortieth anniversary of Punk, and in honor of the milestone Holmstrom has collaborated with Howl! Arts, a nonprofit gallery and performance space on East 1st Street, for an exhibit featuring classic Punk magazine covers and rare memorabilia.
Today, the phrase “punk is dead” has become a worn-out clichĂ©, the expression itself dead and buried long ago. But while punk, in many ways, continues to thrive in 2016 — expanding and becoming more diverse every year — Punk magazine and the exhibit at Howl! harks back to a time when the genre fed off raw attitude, angst, and rebellion.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a scene in the twentieth century that produced as much talent as the CBGB scene,” Holmstrom, who served as Punk’s chief cartoonist and editor, tells the Voice. “The music today is really terrible. You have all these generations today who want to be conformists. They all want to have a Facebook page that people ‘like.’ If we were young, we’d want everyone to hate our Facebook page.”
“It never bothered me at all that I wasn’t popular in high school,” he adds. “I liked being unpopular.”
Holmstrom met McNeil and Dunn while growing up in Cheshire, Connecticut, a small town fifteen miles north of New Haven. But it wasn’t until he moved to Manhattan to attend the School of Visual Arts that he had the idea to start a magazine, hoping to combine his love for music with his training as an illustrator. Having studied with Harvey Kurtzman, the founder of Mad magazine, and Will Eisner, the creator of the comic series The SpiritPunk would often take on the comedic, cartoonish style passed down by Holmstrom’s mentors.
Courtesy of Howl! Arts
By the mid Seventies, the term “punk” had already been printed in music magazines like Creem and NME, used to describe everything from hard rock to garage to glam. But Punk magazine is often credited with giving the term its definitive meaning and modern aesthetic, plastering New York City with posters that warned of the impending punk invasion. After getting his friends on board, Holmstrom volunteered to be editor, while Dunn, who passed away last year, would take on the role of publisher. McNeil, they agreed, would serve as their “resident punk,” a mascot and antihero of sorts for the magazine.
“John Holmstrom and his living cartoon creature, Legs McNeil, were two maniacs running around town putting up signs that said, ‘Punk Is Coming! Punk Is Coming!’” remembers Blondie’s Debbie Harry in Please Kill Me. “We thought, 'Here comes another shitty group with an even shittier name.'”

The name stuck, however, and soon the mainstream media started coming around, asking questions about the new phenomenon.
“You’d pick up Creem magazine and they would write about punk rock as if everybody knew what it was,” says Holmstrom, who also illustrated the album covers for the Ramones’ Rocket to Russia andRoad to Ruin. “I was kind of shocked, because when we brought out Punk all of a sudden the media shows up and they’re asking us, ‘What’s punk rock?’ And to me, it was like, ‘Hey, it’s rock 'n' roll.’”
The magazine quickly built up a subscription base of 2,500 and started distributing more than 20,000 copies each issue. McNeil would repeatedly leave the magazine, feeling frustrated by his role and returning as an editor. And though a number of writers published in the pages of the magazine went on to form illustrious careers — McNeil among them — Holmstrom found it difficult to sit many of his contributors down and have them actually write about music. He remembers the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs stumbling into the Punk magazine headquarters, an old office space on 10th Avenue and 30th Street nicknamed the "Punk Dump." In the past Bangs had only allowed his poetry to be published in Punk (“His poetry sucked!” Holmstrom still moans today), but having quit Creem in 1976, he came to New York looking for new work.

“He showed up in our office. I think he was probably doing speed and drinking, and he sat down and banged something out on the typewriter,” Holmstrom says. “It was this rambling crazy thing that was unpublishable. I think I edited it and I ended up with about four usable sentences.”

The magazine’s rise was meteoric but short-lived. By the end of the Seventies, the Sex Pistols had imploded, and chants of “punk is dead” were already starting to take hold. Tom Forcade, the founder of High Times, died in 1978. Larry Flynt, the publisher ofHustler, was shot that same year. Holmstrom considered both allies of Punk, and saw his dreams of having the magazine picked up by a larger distributor drift away. Fear around the unsavory, dangerous aspects of the genre became a hot-button issue in the media, too, and Holmstrom felt the tides turning against him. 
“There was political pressure to put us out of business,” he says. “Everybody hated punk. Everybody hated the term; everybody was afraid of it. Debbie Harry and Blondie were [associated with] punk and radio stations were afraid to interview her. They thought that she’d pull a knife on them.”
“Sometimes I think God hates punk rock,” he adds, thinking back to the closing of CBGB and the many calamities that have derailed the movement over the years.

Though Holmstrom briefly revived Punk in the early Aughts, the magazine’s original incarnation folded in 1979. Today, he says he’s been asked to resuscitate the publication once again and is willing to bring Punk back from the dead if he can find the right financial backer. Until then, the exhibit at Howl!, which concludes its run this weekend, provides a window into the glory days of punk — a style that continues to inspire revolt and rebellion among America's youth even 40 years later.
“If you think about it, these kids are born after the Ramones broke up, but they still love the music. It’s still associated with something dangerous and people still hate it,” Holmstrom says fondly. “No music form is dead. Punk is not dead. Rock 'n' roll is not dead. There’s always some band out there that keeps the music alive.” — Jackson Connor | The Village Voice

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Roger Ebert — More Than Just A Film Critic

Life Itself - Official Trailer

Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) along with executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) present LIFE ITSELF, a film that recounts the inspiring, entertaining and colorful life of world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert--a story that is by turns personal, funny, moving and transcendent. 

LIFE ITSELF (2014) -starring- Roger Ebert | Directed by Steve James

Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, LIFE ITSELF, explores Roger Ebert's legacy--his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times, his turn as screenwriter of BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, his on and off screen relationship with Gene Siskel, all culminating in his ascension as one of the most influential cultural voices in America.

Chaz Ebert, Wife Of Deceased Film Critic Roger Ebert, 'Used To Like Gene Siskel Better' — Huffington Post

† R.I.P. — Gene Siskel (January 26th, 1946 – February 20th, 1999) — R.I.P. 

Remembering Gene by Roger Ebert

R.I.P. Roger Ebert (June 18th, 1942 – April 4th, 2013) R.I.P.


I Am Street Fighter | 25th Anniversary Documentary

I Am Street Fighter - 25th Anniversary Documentary

Street Fighter was designed by Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto — making its arcade debut in 1987. Originally called "Fighting Street" before morphing into "Street Fighter" — galactically transforming into a larger-than-life / legendary video game franchise by Capcom.
The revolutionary fighting game's playable characters originate from various countries around the world — each with his or her own unique fighting style & technique. Capcom's colossal franchise would achieve worldwide success and attain a cult-like following.
Street Fighter and its memorable characters, revolutionary graphics, signature sound-effects and unforgettable moves has evolved through-out the years as well as through many generations — remaining one of thee most popular video games in the world today.

DID YOU KNOW? Approx. 67 total playable Street Fighting characters thus far!
Hadoken! The History of Street Fighter — CCC

Street Fighter 5 | Official Trailer

Capcom Co., Ltd. founded in 1979 created Street Fighter and released it on Arcades in 1987 and still now is releasing the series on different platforms.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 25th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 25th, 2016

Check out the Top 10 Plays from Monday night's action in the NBA.

Mean Jeff Green w/ the buzzer-tying bucket!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 24th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 24th, 2016

The best of the best from Sunday's action highlighted in the Top 5.

Josh Smith reacts after the "Big Payback" throwdown!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

BABE Of The WEEK 2016: Week 4 — Jennifer Jayleen Martinez

theKONGBLOG™'s BABE Of The WEEK: Week 4 of 2016 — Jennifer Jayleen Martinez


Jayleen Martinez Is the PrototypeXXL


The 20 Hottest Photos of Jennifer Martinez — Heavy

† † †

"Ice Cream Man" by Tyga | Produced by Jess Jackson

Jennifer Jayleen Martinez — one of the principal video models in Tyga's "Ice Cream Man" video


Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 23rd, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 23rd, 2016

Tune in to the top ten plays from Saturday night's NBA action.

Archie Goodwin w/ an uplifting buzzer beater for the Suns!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 22nd, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 22nd, 2016

Check out the Top 10 Plays from Friday night's action in the NBA.

Victor Oladipo's "mean mug" after his game-tying three — sending the contest to OT!

CITY OF GOLD (2015) -starring- Jonathan Gold (Pulitzer Prize-winning Food Critic)

CITY OF GOLD (2015) -starring- Jonathan Gold
Directed by Laura Gabbert

SYNOPSIS: In this richly penetrating documentary odyssey, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold shows us a Los Angeles where ethnic cooking is a kaleidoscopic portal to the mysteries of an unwieldy city and the soul of America. 

Jonathan Gold | Columnist | LA Times

Combing through colorful neighborhoods in his green pickup truck, Gold is sniffing out his next strip-mall discovery—whether Oaxacan grasshopper soup, hand-cut tonkotsu ramen, or a particularly unctuous pad see ew.

CITY OF GOLD (2015) | Release Date: March 16th, 2016

As piping-hot platters are served up, so are stories of immigrants whose secret family recipes are like sacred offerings pledged for the opportunity to build their American Dream. With eternal curiosity, razor-sharp intellect, and existential longing, Gold is a culinary geographer taking us where no critic has gone before.

Sundance 2015: 'City of Gold' documents eclectic Times critic Jonathan Gold — Los Angeles Times

Friday, January 22, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 21st, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 21st, 2016

Check out the Top 10 Plays from Thursday night's action in the NBA.

Norris Cole trades in his frequent flyer mileage — taking flight over Andre Drummond — soaring for the Dunk of the Night!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 20th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 20th, 2016

Check out the Top 10 Plays from Wednesday night's action in the NBA.

Andre w/ a giant alley-oop dunk from Brazilian Blur!


A Better Tomorrow (1986) -starring- Ti Lung, Leslie Cheung and Chow Yun-fat
Directed by John Woo


SYNOPSIS: John Woo established/solidified himself as one of Hong Kong's premiere action directors with this ultra-hip/ultra-violent action, gangster & shoot-em-up classic. The film centers around the complex relationship between two brothers: Sung Tse-kit (Leslie Cheung) is a recent graduate of the police academy while Tse-ho (Ti Lung) runs a massive counterfeiting ring along with his gangland associate, Mark Lee (Chow Yun-fat).

Tension between the two brothers comes to a head when their father is murdered after a crime deal goes sour and Tse-ho lands in jail after being double-crossed. In perhaps the most influential scene in Hong Kong cinema in the 1980s, Mark avenges his friend by staging a dinner table assassination. As Mark tries to shoot his way out of the restaurant, pulling a series of hidden pistols from potted plants and alcoves, he gets horribly injured.

Although Ti Lung (right) was the film's lead actor, co-star Chow Yun-fat's (left) break-out & powerful performance out-shined him, solidifying his status as one of the top grossing superstars in the Hong Kong film industry.

With both founding members of the counterfeiting syndicate incapacitated, the operation falls into the hands of Shing (Waise Lee Chi-hung), Tse-ho's former underling who is lesser of his boss and is inexperienced in the underworld. When Tse-ho gets out of jail, he reunites with his now-crippled "bum" — Mark. Together, they unite to take-out Shing and to protect Tse-kit whose life is in danger for investigating their former subordinate. 

What transpires is a cult-classic — One of the Most Respected Hong Kong Classic Gangster Fims in the History of Cinematography!

A BETTER TOMORROW (1986) Trailer

DID YOU KNOW? A Better Tomorrow has spawned several sequels — including an "official" Korean remake in 2010 by fame-Korean director Song Hae-sung -starring- Joo Jin-mo, Song Seung-heon, Kim Kang-woo and Jo Han-sun w/ John Woo, who directed the original 1986 version, acting as executive producer.

A Better Tomorrow (2010)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 19th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 19th, 2016

Take a look at the top 10 plays from Tuesday night's action.

The Greek Freak set to take-flight like a F-150!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 18th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 18th, 2016

Check out the Top 10 plays from the NBA on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"I am lion, hear me roar!"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 16th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 16th, 2016

Count down the top ten plays from Saturday night.

John Wall w/ a DAZZLIN' pass!

BABE Of The WEEK 2016: Week 3 — Alicia Vikander

theKONGBLOG™'s BABE Of The WEEK: Week 3 of 2016 — Alicia Vikander

How Alicia Vikander Perfected Her Robot Voice for Ex Machina - Late Night with Seth Meyers

It was hard work to get her voice and look just right for the sci-fi film.

Alicia Vikander — slowly but surely becoming Hollywood’s Most Wanted
Alicia Vikander by Willy Vanderperre for W Magazine April 2015

Alicia Vikander is an 'up n' coming' Swedish actress that makin' waves — prepare for a tsunami!


Alicia Vikander Correctly Pronounces Her Name

Alicia demonstrates the correct, Swedish way of pronouncing her name and recalls getting the news of her Oscar nomination while she was with her family in Las Vegas.

— Hollywood Beauty —

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 15th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: January 15th, 2016

Check out the Top 10 plays from Friday night's action around the Association.

Anthony Davis the Uni-Brow Basketball Killer w/ a game-winning dunks against the Mavs

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